SF to step up safety efforts to prevent pedestrian hits

April 10, 2012 7:06:48 PM PDT
ABC7 News as learned that San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon has surveillance video has a fatal accident, from almost two weeks ago, where a bicyclist hit a man in a crosswalk, but he won't say where the video comes from or what it shows. In the meantime, the city took action Tuesday to try to make the streets safer.

There were 900 people injured on San Francisco streets in 2011. So now the San Francisco Board of Supervisors wants to do something about it, not just at Market and Castro streets, but at the Market and Octavia intersection -- one of the most dangerous intersections in the city.

It's a part of Market Street that long-time observers compare to the Wild, Wild West. In the past, ABC7 has caught some accidents on video of drivers illegally taking a right-hand turn when they're not supposed to, and crashing into a bicyclist. Some witnesses could also tell you of crazy accidents they've seen such as a car who hopped a curb, took out a utility box, and ran into a corner store.

The design plays a part, so does bad behavior, and now, after one-too-many fatal accidents involving cars, bikes, pedestrians, or all three in this city, the Board of Supervisors introduced a measure designed to make the streets safer.

"We just want to let the public know that if you are in a car, if you're on your feet, if you're on a bike, we are expecting you to pay attention our traffic rules, and you will be cited if you're not," said Supervisor David Chiu.

Of course people have been cited in the past for dangerous violations, but ABC7 asked what will be the noticeable change from the San Francisco Police Department enforcing bicycling laws?

"I think nothing has changed. We're continuing our bicyclist enforcement, which we have been doing for quite some time," said SFPD Capt. Al Casciato.

Though in the future, San Francisco police will be writing tickets electronically, which will provide data about incidents and enforcement at the worst locations. If a bicyclist gets cited, the city plans an education program for that person, for the first offense.

"We do it based upon somewhat on demand and somewhat on our budget, but the class sometimes has as many as 80 people," said Bert Hill, from the bicycle Advisory Committee. When asked if those classes would be ramped up, he said, "I hope so. If we get a lot of people, we'll ramp it up."

So here comes the law in the Wild, Wild West and the police can start at Market and Octavia. And another note here, the Board of Supervisors planned to step up their safety efforts for over a year now. The recent accident just made this a good opportunity to make it public.

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